The Damned, The Specials and Donny Osmond

I’d like to start off by stating that I absolutely love the Damned. They have given me a great deal of pleasure over the years, and some of my fondest memories are of hearing Damned, Damned, Damned for the first time and seeing them play live at the Locarno in  Portsmouth, supported by the Anti Nowhere League.

I managed to catch them at Rebellion earlier in the year, and on Wednesday I went to see them, although they were support to Motorhead. (Honorable mention to Girlschool, also on the bill, with Blitzkriegs Jax on guitar). They opened with New Rose and from that moment I knew I was going to be dissapointed. To be fair to them the crowd seemed to really love them, and maybe I’m still living in the past, but I wanted New Rose to sound like New Rose – the New Rose – the very first vinyl pressing of a Punk song ever…a piece of history. Musically it was the same, vocally it could have been Whitney Houston.

Maybe Dave Vanian is bored with singing the same old stuff for 30 years and he want to put some variety in his life…and I think for that its understandable…but I paid £25 to hear the Damned as I wanted to hear them, not what I got at all.

The week before I managed to catch the Specials in Brighton, another 30 year tour and another band on the nostalgia bandwagon….but what a band, what a show and what a difference. Every song was sung as I remembered it being, the whole blace was bouncing and I left through the pouring rain with a smile on my face. It was what I’d paid for, my memories, my songs and my experiences brought back for a few hours.

And Donny Osmond? I watched an interview with him once where he told the story of singing Puppy Love in a rock style cos he was bored with it. Then one day a fan asked him why he ruined their memory of the song. It affected him and he now sings songs in the way he sold them. Please take note Mr Vanian…to me and lots like me, you are a hero. The Damned are one of the greatest bands ever and I for one would like to hear New Rose as it was recorded by the Damned, not a night club singer.

Rebellion 2009

Although this event has been running for 15 years, this was my first time attending….and how I regret not having gone before.

OK, for the Punk purist its probably too commercial/popular/wrong crowd but for those of us who are nearing 50, love the music, the atmosphere, the seaside and the beer – it was amazing. I got to see some great bands that I would otherwise never have heard of, met some heroes and felt at home.

Charlie loves the Shirt

Charlie loves the Shirt

Thanks for the cheesy photo opportunity to Charlie and the Captain.

My brief review of what I saw, and remember, is as follows, (its my opinion which means it doesn’t have to comply with anyone else’s).

Thursday – Drove up from Southampton in time to catch Geoffrey Oicott – the only band I know that can make cricket seem interesting – hilarious. Max Splodge was value for money in the Acoustic bar and in the Ballroom for Cute Lepers – crap, Blood or Whiskey and Flogging Molly – great performances but I’m not really into Irish Rebel music even if it is played at 100mph. Highlight of the day for me though was Outl4w. Probably my age, but they looked about 12 but made the noise I was there for…fantastic energy, got the crowd going and left the ears ringing. I think they should have been in the Ballroom rather than the Arena…they deserved a bigger audience.

Friday – Best day of the weekend, managed to catch the whole of Bad Town (Kiwi Ska/Punk), Septic Psychos, Sensa Yuma, Demob – last ever gig, and the Subhumans – fantastic performance from Dick and the boys. Also managed to see bits of The Crack, SNFU, The Business, Drongo’s for Europe (superb), Splodge, Lurkers, Sick on the Bus, Vice Squad, The Exploited and the Damned. (Hugely disappointed with Dave Vanians vocals. I believe Brian James described his version of New Rose as an attempt to be Frank Sinatra. I agree – shit). Act that shouldn’t have been there – Adrian Edmunson and the Bad Shepherds….what is that all about? Best act of the day goes to another band that should have played the Ballroom – the Restarts, fuckin ace.

The Captain syas Hello

The Captain says Hello

Saturday – Started with Urban Scum, fantastic band and also caught full performances from Citizen Fish, Goldblade, The Freeze, Anti-Nowhere League…is it me or does the Hoff front them now? Caught bits of Newtown Nuerotics, the Freeze, Last Resort, Riot Squad. Biggest disappointment – The Adicts. Band of the Day and in fact the weekend for me, The Rabble. Great set, great attitude, great atmosphere. Put them in the same venue as the Restarts and Outl4w…they are better than a sideshow act.

Sunday – Saw all of Gimp Fist, Dirty Revolution (Ska/Reggae – brilliant), the Dickies, Leftover Crack. Caught bits of Middle Finger Salute, Killing Joke, (boring), King Blues (why?), UK Decay, Chron Gen, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Charred Hearts. Band of the day – The Stupids…clearly didn’t give a fuck but made a fantastic noise. I’ve already booked my B&B for next year….can’t wait.